A Sting Exclusive: “Leading by example! EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change”, European Parliament Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek cries out from Brussels

Ulrike LUNACEK

Mrs Ulrike Lunacek is Vice president of the European Parliament and MEP forGreens/European Free Alliance

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ulrike Lunacek, Vice president of the European Parliament and MEP Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/Austria).

The climate-change impacts are already visible in natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans. The latest Assessment Report (5AR) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has presented unequivocal evidence to demonstrate climate warming and that human activities are the dominant cause of observed climate change since the middle of the 20th century. From 2000 to 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions were the highest in human history. Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes to the land, atmosphere and oceans in all regions of the globe and in all countries.

Scientists predict that without significant global mitigation action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global average temperature is likely to be as much as 4 or 5°C higher by 2080.

The UNFCCC climate summit in Paris will be a rare and crucial opportunity for the world to move forward and speed up the ongoing transformation to a zero carbon future. Although every country will have to contribute to the effort to reduce their climate impact, the EU has to step up its ambition to ensure the future UN climate agreement, a Paris Protocol, is sealed in December and is up to the challenge of maintaining climate change to well below 2°C. As Greens, we are concerned that the EU risks being a bystander at COP21 if it does not up its game.

The EU’s 2030 climate change targets are acknowledged to be low on ambition. The headline figure of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% is already far below what is necessary, both to limit global warming to 2 degrees and to spur the green economy. A positive signal from the EU that it is willing to increase this ambition depending on an agreement at the COP21 would provide some momentum and impetus for the Paris talks.

Long-term emissions goals will be a key issue at the COP21. We need to be phasing out carbon globally by 2050 and moving to zero emissions to prevent dangerous climate change. The EU should join the other countries calling for this in the UN negotiations. Simply aligning the EU’s position with that of the G7 (a global reduction of emissions between 40-70% by 2050) is out of sync with the EU’s goal of limiting the global increase in temperature to below 2°C.

Finance for assisting developing countries most affected by climate change will be another crucial factor in agreement at the COP21. If the EU is to try and positively influence the outcome, we need to both deliver on commitments up to 2020 but also commit to fair and predictable scale of public climate aid beyond 2020. The Paris Protocol also needs to lay down the global phase-out of all carbon emissions and phase-in of 100% renewable energy by 2050. Parties need to make a collective commitment to shift public support (finance and policy) away from fossil fuels towards climate resilience and universal and fair access to sustainable energy.

And the agreement must provide for a regular review process to keep track of scientific advances and adequacy of climate action, as well as the fairness of those commitments.

Uniform rules for monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions need to be agreed in Paris to ensure that the implementation of national contributions is transparent and quantifiable.

The Paris Protocol needs to establish adequate and predictable international climate finance for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries as well as a functioning mechanism to address loss and damage. The agreement should mandate IMO and ICAO to set up measures with effect by 2021 to curb climate impacts of aviation and shipping, in line with the scale and urgency of the climate challenge.

We Greens call on the EU as the largest donor to act collectively and use revenues from sources that are independent from Member States’ annual budgetary procedures, such as ETS auction revenues and financial transaction tax. Revenues from market based instruments to reduce global aviation and shipping emissions should be dedicated to contributing to post 2020 international climate finance and the Green Climate Fund.

According to the 5AR, I mentioned above, global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2015 at the latest, and need to be reduced by an annual rate of around 6% in order to maintain a likely chance of keeping the rise in global average temperature below 2°C. The EU must be consistent with a linear reduction pathway towards the objective of phasing out carbon emissions by 2050 and therefore increase its own 2030 climate target to 60%. The respect, protection and promotion of human rights are prerequisite for effective global climate action. This encompasses i.a. gender equality, full and equal participation of women, and the active promotion of a just transition of the workforce creating decent work and quality jobs for all.

Delaying actions will only increase costs and reduce options to limit the disastrous impacts of climate change. Leading by example is the only way the EU will encourage all countries make an adequate contribution. Increasing Europe’s climate ambition can benefit the EU as well as drive a race to the top encouraging other countries to step up their climate efforts.

The UNFCCC climate summit in Paris will be a rare and crucial opportunity for the world to move forward and speed up the ongoing transformation to a zero carbon future.

Although every country will have to contribute to the effort to reduce their climate impact, the EU has to step up its ambition to ensure the future UN climate agreement, a Paris Protocol, is sealed in December and is up to the challenge of maintaining climate change to well below 2°C. As Greens, we are concerned that the EU risks being a bystander at COP21 if it does not up its game. Leading by example is the only way the EU will encourage all countries make an adequate contribution.

About the author

Ulrike Lunacek is Vice president of the European Parliament; MEP (Greens/Austria) since 2009; Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Substitute in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs; Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup of the EP; 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

South Eurozone urgently needs fairer distribution of taxation burden

Brain drain 2017: why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

EP Brexit Steering Group calls on the UK to overcome the deadlock

Worth going ‘extra mile’ for a new Syrian constitution, UN envoy urges

This is what countries are doing to fight plastic waste

EU to gain the most from the agreement with Iran

Action needed to end deadly clashes between African herders and farmers: UN chief

5 charts that show renewable energy’s latest milestone

Inspiring medical students to choose primary health care

Malaria could be gone by the middle of the century. Here’s how

Anti-vaccination: a private choice leading to collective outcomes

UN condemns deadly attack against G5 Sahel force headquarters in Mali

Doctors vs. Industry 4.0: who will win?

Youth Entrepreneurship Issue of the month: JEN, organisers of JADE October Meeting, on why JEs should come together

Malaysia has achieved high levels of growth, but must do more to address governance and social challenges

5 things to know about the exploding world of pro gaming

A Sting Exclusive: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on South China Sea issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum

Generation Z will outnumber Millennials by 2019

Turkey remains numb while its economy is expected to shrink further due to a cocktail of EU and US sanctions

Getting African Women into the Boardroom

Why are the Balkans’ political leaders meeting in Geneva this week?

INTERVIEW: Poverty, education and inclusion top new General Assembly President’s priority list

The two big uncertainties shaping our future

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

Guatemala: UN anti-corruption body will continue working, as Constitutional Court blocks Government expulsion

Europe’s forests are booming. Here’s why.

FROM THE FIELD: What do you want to be when you grow up? One day I will…

Draghi hands over to banks €77.7 billion more

Trump’s Russian affair spills over and upsets Europe

Telemedicine and the Brazilian reality

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

Why does the whole world want Britain to stay in the EU?

De-escalation of fighting in Hodeida is key to ‘long-overdue’ restart of Yemen peace talks: UN envoy

This South Korean company has built a 5G search and rescue airship

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Good Governance in developing modern quality infrastructure systems

French Prime Minister passes Stability Program and takes his ‘café’ in Brussels this June

Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief in China, counter-terrorism, updates from Bangladesh, Mali and Mozambique

It’s time to end the stigma around mental health in the workplace

Social entrepreneurs can change the world – but these 6 things are holding us back

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

Why the world is not as globalized as you think

EU Budget 2019: MEPs increase funding on youth, migration and research

New UN poverty report reveals ‘vast inequalities’ between countries

Canada grants asylum for Saudi teen who fled family: UNHCR

Fertilisers/cadmium: Parliament and Council negotiators reach provisional deal

‘12 million’ stateless people globally, warns UNHCR chief in call to States for decisive action

7 of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in India

Sustainability is now mission critical for businesses. Here’s why

Security Council approves ‘historic’ political Haiti mission, ending UN peacekeeping role in the country

Mergers: Commission clears E.ON’s acquisition of Innogy, subject to conditions

Century challenge: inclusion of immigrants in the health system

Pharmaceuticals in the environment: Commission defines actions to address risks and challenges

These are the world’s best countries to retire in, as of 2019

Now’s the time to take up cycling – here are 6 reasons why

Third EU-Western Balkans Media Days: EU reaffirms comprehensive support to media freedom in the region

UN chief praises New Zealand premier’s ‘admirable’ response to Christchurch attacks

Europe’s dirty air kills 400,000 people every year

Pakistan: UN Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ terrorist attacks

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s